Thursday, September 28, 2006

A New Day

Well, in my now-absent post crowing about our visa, I mentioned that I would give more details. We've gone through a lot of stress to get this baby, so Jube and I feel very relieved right now. We first began the process back in March, when we decided that I really wanted to go back to grad school.

When I came back to the US to attend the graduate recruiting days here at ODU, I mailed everything off to the Vermont processing center. About 2 weeks later, we received a favorable decision from the Department of Homeland Security, and 2 weeks after that we got a letter saying that our case had been forwarded to the Embassy in Paris. Everything was on schedule for an arrival in the US in August or September.

We waited for another month or so, with no word from the Embassy. I had started my summer job in Nice, and Jube had started his vacation, when we received a letter from Homeland Security saying that they had either reversed their decision or reopened our casefile. It didn't explain why or specify whether we still had any chance for the visa. I was pretty upset! I cried and cried, and Jube had to console me (I still feel bad about this; I mean, the visa was for HIM, not for me, and I'm sure he felt just as sad and confused as I did). My mother did lots of research for us, calling immigration lawyers and trying to get in touch with the Department of Homeland Security. We finally discovered (through our own initiative, with no help from the government) that a new law* was signed last year, coming into effect January 1, 2006. DHL had 2 or 3 months to change the forms to comply with this law. Well, they didn't manage to have the forms (which I downloaded electronically) corrected by the time Jube and I applied. Through no fault of our own, we hadn't answered the two (and a half) new burning questions required by the new law. The advice from the immigration lawyers was contradictory and confusing, but one woman gave us a really useful tip: to FAX the Embassy with our questions. Every time we faxed them, we received a phone call or a quicker resolution of our problem. Of course, I can't be sure that this was because of the FAXes, but it felt like it. The Embassy told us we were one of twelve couples in France who were having the visa process delayed because of the new law.

Anyway, Jube finally received the appointment for the visa interview last week. He went to the doctor, who checked him out and found him lacking in one vaccine, quickly administered. The next day he headed to the Embassy, where he was asked a few questions about my family, his family, and Norfolk, and they said he'd receive the visa in the mail in a few days. He has it now, so he can come to the US at any time! Now the question is, one way ticket or round trip? The round trip tickets are apparently much cheaper, but would that be strange for entering the country as an immigrant?

In any case, I am thrilled that he will be able to make it by our planned wedding date (November 5) and I'm trying to be busy finishing up homework before he gets here. I just can't wait to have some company in my little apartment!



*I basically agree with this law, since it is focused on the problem of mail-order brides (anyone remember that CSI episode where the Russian girl was killed by her husband because she wanted to exercise her rights and divorce him? Yeah, this law is against that!).

8 comments:

Lady Iphigenia said...

Congratulations! (I missed the post where you said that you will get married, but how fun!)-- blogs are like a super novels...live!!

Gem said...

Why thank you! I'm sure I'll write more about it as the day draws closer...

Jube said...

well, you know my theory about those police shows being propaganda for the government...

Samantha said...

oh wow, that is fabulous news! i'm so glad it worked out for both of you, and in time for the wedding!!

Gem said...

Why thank you Sam! I'm sure I'll be writing more about the wedding as it comes up...

robin said...

yes, congratulations to you both!!!!! i just knew all would work out because you 2 are such an amazing and cute couple and you've been through various separations in the past and even managed to stay in love through it all! hopefully, this will be the last legal snafu and you can travel easily between countries from now on. let us know when jube gets here.
happy happy, joy joy!

Jube said...

Ah! I don't know about traveling easily between countries now. Supposedly, I won't be allowed to leave the US for 2 years, unless I do a special request, called advance parole. And that special permission won't let me stay abroad for an extended amount of time.

helene said...

That reminds me of the passport snafu the Meg Ryan ran into in the movie "French Kiss". Proves I'm American because I have to compare something in life to a movie ;-)
I hope you and Gem end up as happy as the couple in the movie!!!